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A City Leaguer

The most-asked question involving Wichita State basketball is – “Is WSU recruiting any Wichita kids?”

The answer is always yes, but with varying degrees of success. More mature Shocker fans still have scars from botched efforts to recruit City Leaguers such as Johnny Murdock. Mark Turgeon put his all into recruiting East’s Taj Gray and North’s Brandon Polk, Wichitans who could have accelerated the program’s progress. Gregg Marshall made a strong run at Southeast’s Jordan Cyphers, who chose Utah instead.

As with any team, fans take a special interest in local kids. So Heights junior Evan Wessel orally committing to WSU on Monday is a big deal for Marshall and his staff. Wichita isn’t overloaded with high-level DI prospects. It’s extremely helpful to get one when he pops up. It was only a matter of time – Marshall and his assistants know what they’re doing and they’re selling a winning program. Sooner or later, they were going to get some City League players. I’m sure they are happy that Wessel is the first.

Heights coach Joe Auer said Marshall performed diligently during his courtship. He was the first coach to show last fall during open gym.“They have done a great job of letting (Wessel) know how important he is to their future plans,” Auer said. “They spent a lot of time watching Evan and evaluating him.”WSU can win big without City Leaguers. Turgeon proved that. It’s much easier when the coaches can recruit a few miles from campus. WSU’s two strongest eras – the early 1960s and the early 1980s – featured City Leaguers such as Kelly Pete, Jamie Thompson, Antoine Carr, Karl Papke and Aubrey Sherrod. Keeping Wichita talent at home is always a good sign for the Shockers.